Synergies and complementarities between the Arms Trade Treaty, the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms

July 23rd, 2015

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), organised a workshop on synergies and complementarities between the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms (UNPoA) and related instruments for ECOWAS member States. The workshop was held from 22 to 23 July 2015 in Nigeria.

This topic is of particular importance to these States, since nine of the current 12 African States Parties to the ATT are part of ECOWAS. Underlining the importance of the universalisation of the ATT, UNREC encouraged remaining ECOWAS member States to ratify and accede to the Treaty.

Governmental representatives from 13 ECOWAS member States as well as experts from UNREC, ECOWAS, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) participated in the workshop.

Following the presentation by UNREC of its “Study on Synergies and Complementarities between the ATT, the ECOWAS Convention on SALW, the UNPoA and other related instruments”, discussions focused on the identification of practical measures that would allow for a harmonised implementation of the different arms control instruments regulating the international trade in conventional arms. Among aspects discussed were the establishment of national arms transfer control systems, record-keeping and reporting requirements as well as institutional arrangements, such as the designation of competent national authorities and points of contacts.

At the end of the workshop, participants recommended that ECOWAS put in place a group of experts to study and suggest modalities for institutional arrangements necessary for the regional implementation of the ATT and other related arms control instruments.

The workshop is part of a wider UNREC assistance programme aimed at promoting the ATT and is supported by the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation.

For additional information about UNREC, please visit the website